US plans to seize superyacht 'Amadea' in Fiji from suspected Russian owner

The luxury vessel is believed to be owned by oligarch Suleiman Kerimov

The US is seeking to seize a superyacht docked in Fiji that is thought to belong to a Russian oligarch.

The luxury vessel Amadea, one of the largest superyachts in the world, is widely believed to be owned by Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov, who is sanctioned by the US and EU.

A restraining order filed on Tuesday by the Pacific island nation's director of public prosecutions revealed the US intends to seize the vessel.

It arrived in Fiji a week ago after leaving Mexico 18 days earlier and crossing the Pacific. Police are investigating.

Authorities in various countries have seized luxury vessels and villas owned by Russian billionaires in response to sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, which Russia calls a special military operation.

Fiji's director of public prosecutions, Christopher Pryde, filed an application to the High Court seeking to prevent the Amadea from leaving the country, Reuters reported.

The application requested "the motor yacht Amadea be restrained from leaving Fijian waters" until an application to register a warrant to seize the property is finalised and a US warrant to seize the yacht is registered.

The US embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Last week, it said "the United States is committed to finding and seizing the assets of the oligarchs who have supported the Russian Federation's brutal, unprovoked war of choice against Ukraine".

The court has not heard the application.

A superyacht agent in Fiji acting for the Amadea told Reuters last week the vessel's lawyers were contesting that Mr Kerimov was the owner.

Registration records viewed by Reuters show the yacht is registered to a company in the Cayman islands.

Mr Kerimov was sanctioned by the US in 2018 and 2014 in response to Russia's actions in Syria and Ukraine.

Updated: April 19, 2022, 4:51 AM